FREMONT, NEB.( – Valley City State University track and field athletes Dennis Gonzalez and Grace Miller have qualified for the NAIA National Championships in the marathon after running national qualifying times Saturday at the Midland Half Marathon in Fremont, Neb.
Despite battling rain and temperatures barely above freezing Saturday, Gonzalez and Miller both crossed the finish line under the national qualifying standard for the NAIA full marathon race.
The NAIA full marathon will be run May 25 in Gulf Shores, Ala., as part of the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships. Athletes can qualify for the full marathon by running national qualifying times in a half marathon during the season.
Gonzalez ran a 1:11:07 on Saturday in the men’s half marathon race, finishing more than two minutes under the national qualifying “A” standard. His time is also the sixth-best in the nation so far this season.
Miller finished the women’s race Saturday in a time of 1:29:41, which is 19 seconds under the “A” standard for nationals. Miller’s time ranks her 27th in the nation.
“I am very proud to see them both be as competitive as they were with so many factors to face in the rain and cold,” said VCSU distance coach Josh Mower. “It shows how tough of competitors both of them are, and I know it will translate well to their performances in Alabama.”
Up next: Members of the Valley City State track and field team will compete at the University of Colorado Jerry Quiller Classic on March 15-16 in Boulder, Colo.